SHPE Makes Commitments to Support the Department of Education STEM Education Initiative
It has been 10 years since the U.S. Department of Education gathered in a conference setting with stakeholders from around the country to discuss advancing STEM education equity in America. On Wednesday, December 7, the Department of Education hosted the newly launched “YOU Belong in STEM” initiative’s National Coordinating Conference in Washington, D.C. This initiative is designed to strengthen STEM education nationwide and it’s part of a set of key initiatives from the Biden-Harris Administration focused on ensuring that all students from PreK to higher education have access to high quality STEM learning while cultivating a sense of belonging to promote a student’s success. The “YOU Belong in STEM” initiative unites government, nonprofits, professional organizations, industries, philanthropies, and other community stakeholders and calls upon them to make bold commitments towards breaking down long-standing barriers that prevent students from pursuing a career in STEM while encouraging them to explore and follow their passions in all STEM disciplines.
At the conference, SHPE was joined by government leaders like U.S. Senator and former astronaut Mark Kelly from Arizona, Assistant Secretary for U.S. Health and Human Services Rachel Levine, U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, U.S. Department of Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, and U.S. Department of Education Deputy Secretary Cindy Marten. Their loud support for creating pathways for greater access opportunities, early STEM education awareness, and culturally diverse approaches perfectly align with SHPE’s mission of making generational impacts by changing lives of Hispanic students and professionals throughout their STEM education journey. Prior to this conference, SHPE was part of preliminary conversations about the importance of belonging in STEM and was asked by the Department of Education to take part in the initiative’s commitments towards ensuring that all students from PreK to higher education can excel in rigorous, relevant, and joyful STEM learning. Out of 90 commitments submitted by the time of the conference, SHPE submitted three commitments and was one of six organizations selected to publicly share them. We are so proud to have set the following goals:
- The Destino STEM program will engage and inspire over 7,500 Hispanic youth to pursue STEM degrees and careers in 2023. Destino STEM events are structured to be culturally relevant by having participants interact with Hispanic STEM role models who guide them through STEM hands-on activities. Familia is a core SHPE value and permeates everything we do at SHPE, contributing to belongingness. The program is structured to achieve three core objectives: 1) increase STEM awareness, 2) increasing STEM self-efficacy, and 3) increase STEM identity. Registration information captures participant data that will be used in the short term to speak to geographic footprint and in the long-term to determine if they eventually enter college and pursue and complete a STEM degree.
- The Equipando Padres (Equipping Parents) program will serve over 750 parents in 2023. This program gives parents of 1st-generation-to-college and low socio-economic status students the tools and knowledge necessary to better support their children earning engineering degrees. Equipando Padres events and resources are structured to be culturally relevant by having participants interact with Hispanic STEM role models who share their stories, and by having all resources and experiences be delivered in both English and Spanish. Familia is a core SHPE value and permeates everything we do at SHPE, contributing to belongingness. Registration information captures participant data that will be used in the short term to speak to geographic footprint and in the long-term to determine if their student entered college and pursued and completed a STEM degree.
- The ScholarSHPE program improves representation and increases persistence of Hispanics in STEM careers by providing financial support. The ScholarSHPE program will serve over 325 students with over $1.8M of financial support in the 2022-23 academic year by lowering the financial burden of higher education and showing them that the STEM industry and their SHPE Familia are invested in their future. Recipients range from high school seniors to support their first year of college through doctoral level students. Application information captures participant data that will be used in the short term to speak to geographic footprint and in the long-term to determine persistence and completion of a STEM degree.
We don’t take these promises lightly and are very grateful to this initiative for including us in this nationwide effort by sharing this platform with us to bring the unique voice of the Hispanic community in this important conversation. SHPE looks forward to achieving these goals and to the continued partnership with the U.S. Department of Education to bring equitable and powerful solutions for Hispanics in STEM.
For more information about this initiative, please visit the YOU Belong in STEM page HERE.
We would love to hear from you and your story! Share how SHPE empowers you to be a leading voice in STEM. Please tag @SHPENational (Instagram, Facebook) or @SHPE (Twitter and LinkedIn) and use the following hashtags: #SHPEFamilia #YOUBelongInSTEM.